Links for Your Weekend Reading

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Thom Rainer on 11 mistakes I made as an author.

6 questions every leaders should ask.

Andy Stanley shares six questions every leader should ask and Michael Lukaszewski shares some application on them.

Time Magazine lists 9 terrible habits you need to stop doing immediately.

What makes Malcolm Gladwell so interesting.

 If you believe that Gladwell’s success is primarily driven by his writing, I think you’ve overlooked the most important factor. What makes him most interesting is not the narratives themselves, but rather the ideas behind them.

I am Ryland – the story of a male-identifying little girl who didn’t transition.

It grieves me to think of what Ryland’s parents may be robbing her of by choosing a gender for her at such a young age.  I hope that, if/when she decides that she is a woman, that they will support her in this.  That they won’t force her into their agenda to save face. I am writing this to offer another perspective.  Because I believe in freedom.  I believe that people should be free to have interests that don’t fit the social norm.  That children should be allowed to be children.  With all of their silly, fantastical play.  They should be allowed to believe that they are a dog, a Superhero, a Mommy, or a rock.

How to be a Better Author

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Recently, I watched the author platform conference online. This was a series of interviews with authors, bloggers, marketers and other experts to help writers, speakers and bloggers be as effective as possible.

Below are the lessons from each interview that I watched:

Jonah Berger

  1. Create a connection with your book. Give something to people so that they make a concrete connection to what you are saying. At book events, he gave out tissues with the word Contagious: Why Things Catch On on them for his book and made the connection of “wouldn’t your like your ideas to be as contagious as the cold?”

Chris Brogan

  1. Be married to the outcome more than you are to the idea. This will allow you to enjoy the content you create.
  2. When it comes to branding, people think about people. The person sticks in the mind of people if you know who the person is.

Chad Cannon

  1. Books that sell come from authors that hustle.
  2. An author needs to provide value to the audience outside of their book.

Chris Ducker

  1. Writing a book is not like writing a blog post. Editing is by far the hardest part of writing a book.
  2. Just be you. Your readers and listeners will know if you are being real or not.

John Lee Dumas

  1. Failures happen when people don’t listen to their intuition. Successes happen when we do listen to our intuition.

Carmine Gallo

  1. Ideas are the currency of the 21st century and you are only as successful as your ideas.
  2. Most speakers fail because they don’t have their message down, they don’t know their story.
  3. The difference between a great speaker and a good speaker is the great speaker is always looking to improve.
  4. The 3 components to any great presentation: Emotional, novel and memorable.

Jeff Goins

  1. Activity always follows identity.
  2. Offline relationships still do matter in the midst of our social media worlds.

Chris Guillebeau

  1. A lot of people can launch a book well, but successful authors need to think about how to make it successful in 3, 6, and 12 months.

Derek Halpern

  1. The best way to promote yourself is to help others, to give a benefit to someone else.
  2. Content is not just about what you say, but how you say it.

Michael Hyatt

  1. Know your audience, who they are, what their needs are, and what questions they have.

There was some incredibly helpful things in these videos.

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Thom Rainer on 11 things churches can learn from a church that died.

There was no attempt to reach the community. More and more emphasis was placed on the past. When a church loses its passion to reach the lost, the congregation begins to die.

Aubrey Malphurs on Surviving the busiest season of the year.

Psychologist Dr. Richard Blackmon finds pastors to be “the single most occupationally frustrated group in America” resulting in 30 to 40% of them dropping out of ministry altogether.

14 hints on how to add new service times at your church.

Is your church thinking about adding new service times in the future? We recently interviewed a number of church leaders within the unSeminary community who have led their churches through this change to help extract some helpful hints for you.

Kevin DeYoung on 7 thoughts for pastors writing books.

Rewind my life six years and I would tell you that one of my biggest dreams in life is to get a book published. I hoped that someday, somehow, somewhere, for somebody I would be able to write a book. I never dreamt I would have that opportunity so soon and so often. It’s much more than I deserve.

Thomas Kidd on Why homeschool.

Homeschooling is all too often treated as a monolith: Homeschoolers are either fundamentalists or anarchists, religious extremists or hippies. Rarely, if ever, is it explored as a potential educational setting for so-called “gifted” children–those looking for an academic challenge beyond that which their local educational facilities can provide.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Thom Rainer on Pastors and vacations.

Two years ago I spoke to a pastor about his church. After he shared with me all the areas in which he had been involved and the ministries he led, I asked him an innocent question: When do you take vacation? His answer flabbergasted me. “I don’t,” he said. I thought maybe he had misunderstood me, so I clarified. In the past six years that you have served as pastor, when did you take a vacation? “I haven’t,” he reiterated. I had heard him right the first time. This pastor had deprived himself and his family for the past six years. I anticipated burnout was not far away. Unfortunately, I was right.

A peek inside Max Lucado’s writing process.

Max is the author of almost 100 books with more than 80 million copies in print. There are probably less than five authors in the world who are that prolific—or that successful. It’s mind-boggling.

Paul Levy on Success in ministry is dangerous, accountability doesn’t work and other thoughts on falling from grace.

Recently I’ve spent some time with two friends who were in ministry but have fallen morally and so now find themselves out of a job that they loved, separated from their families and, in all honesty, struggling. I’ve showed what I’ve written to them and I wouldn’t say they were overjoyed at what I had to say but both agreed I could put this on here.

David Murrow on Holiday services and men.

Why are holiday services, which draw huge numbers of irreligious men, so ineffective at engaging them? I believe that holiday services are, by their very nature, poorly suited for men. They tend to hide the church’s greater mission under a mountain of religious tradition and ceremony. Holiday services also give men a skewed perspective on what the gospel is all about.

Kara Powell on What your calendar says about your view of God.

If I want to find out what a leader thinks about God, I don’t look at their prayer journal or their preaching. I look at their calendar. Everyone I know grapples with busyness. It’s often how we define ourselves. When someone asks us, “How are you?” our default answer is frequently one word: “Busy”. This busyness cuts across boundaries of faith, vocation, and socio-economic status.

Shawn Wood on His sermon prep system.

The job of a church planter and pastor has a lot of moving parts, but for me, the biggest of them is my time preparing to preach.

James MacDonald on When men act like men.

Everywhere you look, men are in trouble—falling to superficiality, entertainment lifestyles, sensuality, secularism, lives lived apart from God, reaping for themselves and their families the harvest of what they have sown. Someone needs to throw men a life line. Men are are sinking, and only Jesus Christ can save them. Christ Himself must invade the territory of men’s hearts and rule without rival or equal.

Tuesday Morning Book Review || The In-Between

bookEvery Tuesday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week’s book is The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing (kindle version) by Jeff Goins.

I don’t know about you, but I can relate to what Goins says at the beginning of his book:

How we spend our days, according to Annie Dillard, is how we spend our lives. If that’s true, then I spend most of my life waiting. Waiting in the checkout line at the grocery story. Waiting to rent a movie. Waiting for the movie to end. Waiting to turn thirty. Waiting for vacation. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Life is an endless series of appointments and phone calls and procrastinated tasks that need to, but sometimes never, get done. It’s a long list of incomplete projects and broken promises that tomorrow will be better. It’s being put on hold and waiting in office lobbies and watching that stupid hourglass rotate again and again on the computer screen. It’s load times and legal processes – long, drawn-out, bureaucratic systems that leave sitting, watching the clock. Life is one big wait.

So it is, the in-between. The waiting.

I read this book the week waited to hear from our agency about traveling to Ethiopia to meet our son for the first time. Goins writes in a manner very similar to Donald Miller. There aren’t a whole lot of stats or next steps, but a lot of stories to help you see how to wait and walk through the in-between times of life. Because, as you’ll realize by the end of the book, most of your life is “the in-between time.” I love this, “Waiting is the great grace. It’s a subtle sign for those with eyes to see, reminding us there is work yet to be done – not just around us, but in us.”

The in-between times is about learning to be present and enjoy all of life. As Goins puts it, “We all want to live meaningful lives full of experiences we can be proud of. We all want a great story to tell our grandchildren. But many of us fail to recognize that the best moments are the ones happening right now.”

Here’s a great way to end this review from the book:

People don’t hate waiting when they know what they’re waiting for. What drives people nuts, though, is the postponements that happen for no apparent reason, the arbitrary delays and setbacks. We hate waiting for the things we think we deserve now, not later: the spot at the front of the line, hot food from the kitchen, the best job in the company. It’s not the waiting we dislike; we understand some things take time. What we loathe is the time after what we deem to be an appropriate amount of waiting. We can all be patient – to an extent – but then we have our limits. Our problem, then, is not one of impatience, but entitlement.

If you find yourself being impatient, waiting, trying to be in control or are in between something right now. This is a book worth picking. I enjoyed it immensely and was challenged by my sense of entitlement and when I think things should happen.

Preach Better Sermons || Donald Miller

bookI’m watching the online conference Preach Better Sermons today and wanted to share some of the learnings I picked up. One of the speakers is Donald Miller. Donald is the founder of Storyline, an organization that helps people plan their lives using the elements of story. He is the author of multiple New York Times Bestsellers including Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He is also the founder of The Mentoring Project, a non-profit helping to provide mentors for fatherless children. Don currently lives and works in Washington, DC.

Here are some things that jumped out from his segment:

  • To be a good writer, you must write daily. 
  • When you force creativity or writing, it isn’t as great.
  • You need to show up everyday because you don’t know when creativity will strike or when something will hit.
  • In sermons, you must create tension to engage people.
  • We explain our beliefs based on science or scripture and give 3 reasons for others to believe what we believe.
  • Instead, we need to share the experiences that led to our beliefs. Experiences teach us, not reasons. Don’t teach reasons, walk people through experiences.